Tuesday, August 4, 2015

‘Freemasonry’s latest landmark’

Magpie file photo

The George Washington Masonic National Memorial. I shot this at dusk after the close of the International Conference on the History of Freemasonry in May 2011.

The National Park Service announced today it has conferred national historic landmark status on the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. The famous site has been a favorite destination for tourists—Freemasons or not—for its museum collections and singular architecture for generations.

The Memorial was opened in 1932, one of countless celebrations in America of the bicentenary of George Washington’s birth. It is home to several Masonic lodges, including Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22—an earlier incarnation of which Washington had been a member—and various exhibits commemorating the Masonic fraternity. (I do not know if the timing of this announcement has anything to do with this, but Washington was made a Master Mason on this date in 1753.)

The NPS press release quoted in the Washington Post this afternoon says the site is “among the most architecturally significant projects to honor George Washington and one of the boldest private efforts to memorialize him,” and that the designation was approved “to connect people with the history in their own backyard.”

Magpie file photo
In recent years, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial (Didn’t they drop the National part a few years ago?) has been transforming from its longstanding role as a passive museum destination to a leadership force that champions Masonic learning. It provides digitalization services to grand lodges for the preservation of official records; hosts major conferences and other significant educational events; and lends its resources to other cultural happenings in Freemasonry in the United States. The Memorial is funded by nearly all Freemasons in the country through modest contributions collected through the grand lodges’ annual assessments. A movement is underway to increase the individual Mason’s annual donation to the GWMNM, which I hope every grand lodge will adopt in short order. It’s literally the least we can do to bequeath to posterity—Freemasons or not—this national treasure.

1 comment:

Anon_e_mouse said...

Yes, it is a most wonderful place. I see it regularly en route to see my daughter, son-in-law and grandson, but it's been a few years since I've stopped to visit. Need to do that again sometime soon.